Up Close With Takeo Gouda

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I really fell in love with Ore Monogatari or My Love Story the first time I watched it. Certainly it had the advantage of being a little bit different from a lot of the romance anime I watched given it was from the male’s perspective. It also had the novelty of the two main characters establishing a relationship within the first few episodes so the will they/won’t they antics were kept to a minimum. This isn’t a story about falling in love so much as a story about being in love, but mostly it is a story about the characters and their lives and while falling in love is one aspect it isn’t the only thing this story is looking at.

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A large part of the draw of this series is Takeo Gouda. He’s huge and towers over his peers as he enters his first year of high school but his size tends to put others off. He’s also not the brightest and tends to act impulsively which leads to misunderstandings. At one point in the series he sees a mother struggling to get a pram up a flight of stairs and so he picks up the pram and carries it to the top. Unfortunately he doesn’t ask first or let her know what is going on and it is left to his friend, Sunakawa to explain.

Ore Monogatari Sunakawa left to explain

While that might paint Takeo as a tragic figure, that isn’t actually correct. Takeo has a few bouts of self-pity but by and large just keeps travelling even when things don’t go his way. He’s supported by his parents and his incredibly loyal friend Sunakawa and as the series progresses, by his girlfriend Yamato. With a group of people who really get him and really see him surrounding him, the blows of those who take a superficial glance are a lot easier to deal with.

However, what continues to elevate Takeo as a character rather than just being a nice guy or a strong guy is his willingness to keep trying. He keeps helping people even knowing it doesn’t always work out and that he won’t always be thanked. When Yamato mentions going to a university, Takeo asks Sunakawa to tutor him to help him prepare for practice examinations so that he won’t hold her back. Takeo doesn’t like studying, and he isn’t particularly good at it, but his dedication is pretty admirable.

Ore Monogatari Takeo and Sunakawa

Equally admirable though is his loyalty to his friends. This is tested quite thoroughly when he’s made plans for Yamato’s birthday and then Sunakawa’s father goes to hospital for surgery. Torn for a fair while, Takeo ends up apologising to Yamato, handing her the birthday plan so she can enjoy it, and runs to the hospital to be with his friend. It’s a beautiful moment for a character I think most of us wish we had in our lives because friendship like that is hard to come by.

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Takeo Gouda is a character who I don’t think gets talked about enough. He’s wonderful and just charming to watch. His story is well worth it so if you haven’t watched Ore Monogatari before I totally recommend it. In the meantime, if you have watched it, I’d love to know what you think of Takeo so leave me a comment below.


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Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


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My Love Story!!, Vol. 1
My Love Story!!, Vol. 1

Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Produced By Madhouse

Tuesday's Top 5

There’s no doubt that Madhouse is a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to producing anime. They’ve got a large number of fairly big titles under their belt and the quality of so many of their productions is undeniable. That isn’t to say they don’t have any misses and those will need to be looked at eventually, but today is about celebrating my favourite five titles by Madhouse and this was one hard list to put together because I really did want to add a lot more than five. Ultimately I’ve tried to assemble titles that I think represent the range of shows that Madhouse has out there as well as ones that are truly just fun to watch.


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ACCA

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As always, I’d love to see what you would include on your list so be sure to leave a comment below with your favourite madhouse anime.

Please note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: No Game No Life and Death Parade.

Number 5: The Irregular at Magic High School

This anime title didn’t have the broad appeal that a lot of Madhouse’s titles have but if you happen to like the story this anime is a really good one to watch. For a magic highschool setting this anime pulls out all the stops crafting a believable world where magic has been integrated with technology and with Madhouse’s attention to detail and great animation has really been brought to life in a truly beautiful manner. Whether the spells are simple or complex, the end result is gorgeous to watch and the fights are exciting and fluid. I really enjoyed this anime for its world building and I think I’m glad that Madhouse was behind this one because in the hands of a different studio it may have ended up decided less than impressive.

Number 4: Ore Monogatari (My Love Story)

I really love My Love Story because of its quirky take on the traditional high school love anime, but again I think part of what makes this show so special is the way it has been put together. The story itself is interesting but without the visuals and animation there was every chance this show would fall flat. Yet every scene draws you into the show and the characters and ultimately watching this is a pure joy.

Number 3: Trigun

This is one of those shows where the story takes awhile to get going so it is a good thing we have fantastic visuals (even if they are a little dated looking by today’s standards) and some really fluid animation to keep us engaged in the early stages where the show presents like a screwball western. Once the story gets going and the transition to dark sci-fi kind of takes over it is impressive how the show manages to remain cohesive but all in all, this is one of those slightly older shows that is worth watching. Vash the Stampede is a hilarious and tragic character who will often leave you scratching your head but when you get right to the end he will step up when needed.

Number 2: ACCA

No surprise that ACCA made my list given it was one of my favourite shows in 2017. It is a slightly off-beat political thriller (kind of) but also has a very laid back tone. Anyway, it all could have been a big mess and yet it became an anime that really held my interest assisted by its distinct visuals and very cool jazzy sound-track. While I wouldn’t describe ACCA as beautiful, it is quite a distinct looking anime and the animation suits the style fairly perfectly. It isn’t as flashy as some of the other titles on the list with less in the way of actual action to show off the fluid animation madhouse has a reputation for, but it certainly has style.


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Deathnote

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Number 1: Death Note

Alright, it is a little bit older and from an animation point of view again there aren’t the impressive physical fights to show off just how great it is, and yet this show managed to make writing in a book look intense and amazing and created a visual tone that carried even the weaker parts of the story to fairly lofty heights (there’s a reason this anime is on most people’s must watch lists). With an opening that grabs your attention and is filled with visual symbolism echoed within the show itself (at least the first opening, let’s not discuss the second), and an intensity to every scene that is hard to come by with so many shows striving not to take themselves seriously, Death Note is well and truly worthy of my number one spot on this list even if the second half of the series isn’t exactly flawless.

And that is my list for this week but be sure to check back next week for a new list, or you can check out all of my Top 5 lists here. For now though, I’d love to know what you’ve put on your list.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Friday’s Feature: Anime Characters in Summer

summer

Two days from Christmas and those of us in the land of Aus are dying from excessive waves of heat and humidity when we aren’t having our roofs blown off by summer storms. Seems odd that I’m still reviewing the Autumn 2016 anime season while summer is in full swing but even odder that we’re about to move to Winter 2017. But enough of that and let’s get to today’s feature (though admittedly this is more of a lazy discussion than an actual feature).

It seemed to me that it was a good opportunity to look at the common events that anime characters get up to over Summer Holidays. Not my favourite or the most annoying (this isn’t a top 5 list) but rather just a nice and laid back discussion about these common occurences. Anyone who watches a lot of anime should already know the seasons are really important in Japan and that is reflected in their anime.

First of all we have the obligatory beach or pool trip. This kind of screams summer because it’s hot and the characters want to cool off and generally the animators want to put the various characters into swimwear. We also then get the beach volleyball, the throwing various people into the water, the guy/girl who is lazing under the umbrella, sandcastle building, shell collecting, part time job serving refreshments and all the other clichés that go with being at the beach.

Of course most of you already know how I feel about water and the beach so needless to say these episodes don’t exactly appeal to me or my ideas around summer.

But that’s okay. Anime has plenty of other summer activities in store for us.

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For instance we can go to a festival. This usually involves laying out or buying the appropriate clothes, everyone blushing and looking shy, eating some fantastic looking food, goldfish scooping (though what happens to all those goldfish is a question I’d rather never have answered), and probably a fireworks display. It’s fun, it’s energetic, it’s not entirely exclusive to summer as there are festivals in other seasons in anime, but it comes up a lot over the summer holidays and is kind of entertaining to watch.

Not to mention, I really want to eat all of that food. Looks so good.

One cliché that I actually don’t understand at all is the ghost hunt or test of courage. I’m not really sure why this seems to come in around summer time or what the obsession with walking through the woods/abandoned school building at night is but it’s another time honoured cliche that we’re going to run into.

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If the characters are younger we’ll almost always be treated to a bug catching session (or if your characters involve Haruhi Suzumiya in which case you’ll definitely get sick of bug catching by the end of the endless eight). This is usually light and harmless fun and kind of reminds you of just how easy it is to find entertainment when you find joy in little things.

Last one I want to mention is the going to a relative in the country and then proceeding to bash around in semi-wilderness areas or mountains and usually making a random friend that at the end of summer you need to say farewell to.

summer

All and all, summers in anime always look fun and full of things to do (as well as hot and there are a number of characters who would prefer to sleep at home). So for our discussion today I’ll ask you how you spend your summers or which anime summer would you most want to be in?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James


Ore Monogatari Series Review

ore monogatari

Overview:

Also known as My Love Story, Ore Monogatari follows Takeo as he starts high school and for the first time ever finds a girl who likes him back. The series follows Yamato and Takeo as they work through their first romance and occasionally try to help out their friends.

Review:

Ore Monogatari is a romance anime but it focusses very much on the males viewpoint. However, given the nature of the male, I can only assume the intended audience were females who are already fans of shoujo anime given Takeo freaks out at holding hands and tells his girlfriend he won’t kiss her until Autumn of their third year of high school (though that changes) and that’s about as far as anything physical in this romance is going in this anime. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s a perfectly sweet story, but despite Takeo’s size and sporting prowess, I’m thinking he isn’t exactly the most relatable male protagonist romance has every constructed.

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I really enjoy this anime and it became one of my favourite binge anime almost immediately after it finished airing. It’s sweet and easy going. Each episode focusses on some problem or issue that the characters overcome in some way but there isn’t an awful lot of drama. The most dramatic moment probably comes fairly early in the season when Yamato’s friends are overheard trash-talking Takeo and Yamato runs away. When Yamato and Takeo come back, the building is on fire and two of Yamato’s friends are trapped inside. Takeo saves them but is then trapped himself. This ends after a phone call that informs Takeo that Yamato is going to go inside the building and so he escapes and bursts out through a second story window with flames billowing as he launches himself into a tree.

Not realistic, but certainly entertaining.

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Other than these few moments of action and drama, most of the tension comes from the character’s having to confront their feelings about different situations. Most of this is funnelled through Takeo’s perception, but that isn’t really a problem because Takeo is known for not being the brightest bulb so people tend to carefully explain things to him.

The relationship between Takeo and Yamato proceeds fairly typically. We have Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Birthday’s, and all the usual occasions. Each one passes fairly innocuously but we continue to see the two become closer and understand a little bit more about each other. I did like the beach trip as for once it wasn’t the girl getting stared at but the guy (by the mother’s of the other kids at the beach), which was a change from the norm.

The opening theme is great. As a song it is so-so, but it kind of captures the overall spirit of the anime and watching it you can really feel the main characters.

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Which leads us to the last thing I want to mention: Suna. Takeo’s next door neighbour and best friend. He is a great supporting character and actually the most emotional moments in the story tend to focus on him. Early on we learn that he has turned down every girl who has ever asked him out because they said mean things about Takeo behind his back. He’s also the one who get’s Takeo and Yamato over their initial misunderstandings so that they can actually date. His father’s hospitalization gives us one of the more nail-biting episodes. My favourite moment with Suna though comes in the third last episode of the series. A girl who has liked him for a very long time confesses and while he doesn’t dislike her (so does not reject her outright as he has every other girl before) she realises that he doesn’t actually like her and that kind of breaks her heart. Her conclusion is that Suna loves Takeo though it is ambiguous if she means as a friend or something more. All and all, Suna is what takes this show from being watchable and kind of enjoyable to fairly memorable.

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Clearly, this anime isn’t really doing all that much different other than the male lead, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a sweet romance and fun to watch and a great way to spend an afternoon.

What did you think of Ore Monogatari?


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James